Showing posts from May 4, 2008

Still Closed, But Appalshop Info

Back when I was writing about Appalshop as a model of community dialogue, there were some questions about the funding model, and suggestions that Appalshop was largely government funded. Here is a clarification from a member of Appalshop:

As an artist at Appalshop I just want to be clear that most of our funding does not come from the NEA. There might have been a time when federal sources had that sort of impact, but it has not been true for many, many years.

Appalshop's endowment comes from thousand of small donations from folks across the country, with some anchor support from foundations for various campaigns. The earnings from the endowment equal around six percent of the annual 2.0 mil. operating budget and mostly act as seed money for artistic projects from all divisions (theater, film, radio, and education) to get kick started. Our funding comes from an innovative web of private, government, earned income, contract, donor, and other forms of sales. Many times it comes from de…


Dear Readers,

I am a believer in the Biblical injunction "to whom much is given, much is expected." I heard this value spoken again by Michele Obama last Friday when I attended an Obama rally on campus. There was such a sense of one's responsibility to one's community, and one's responsibility to use your talents to better the place where you came from, or the place you have adopted as your own. That's what I think an artist should do.

Last night, I finished my semester-long course on the Hero's Journey in Film and Literature that I teach at prisons located around Asheville. I was very touched when the inmates used their own money to make me a birthday "prison cake" -- an incredible concoction made by squashing together a Little Debbie Honey Bun, a Snickers Bar, several packets of crushed Oreo cookies, and maybe something else I wasn't aware of. It was the best birthday cake I've ever had, because it really required a sacrifice from the in…

Don Hall Crosses the Line

In a post entitled "Playing to Tourists," in which Don Hall notes that 65% of the tickets bought on Broadway were sold to tourists and 84% were purchased by "non-city residents" (by which I assume is meant people who live outside the city of New York proper, i.e., suburbia), Don provides this description:
I've seen the tourists in Chicago. I've witnessed first hand the teeming, mouthbreathing masses of Americana parading themselves in their overfed, consumer-driven glory with their overweight children and spray-tanned wives. I've watched them smash themselves into the LaSalle Bank Theater to sing along with Jersey Boys and revel in the experience of taking a fifteen-minute Duck Boat Ride off of Navy Pier.And while Don admits that he himself has been a tourist in the past so "I'm not immune from my scathing view of the consumer of commercially popular fare with jacked up prices for the out-of-town rubes," clearly he doesn't include himse…

No Adults

I have been enjoying reading Ken Davenport's "Producer's Perspective" blog for about a month now. I like his unique perspective. But if I needed proof that Ken and I don't quite see things the same, his recent post "Why Did I Decide to Be a Producer of This Broadway Show?" pretty much did it:
What do we look for when putting our record and reputation on the line? A good score? A reasonable economic model? Passionate creative team? Producing partners you admire? A show you can say you're proud to be a part of even if He doesn't like it?Yes.But that's not all.For me, there has to be all of those things . . . and something else. Something unique, something remarkable, something purple. Something that can cut through the noise of the other 30+ Broadway shows screaming for attention in the 12 block stretch that is Broadway. Man, so far I am SO with you, Ken.... But then you explain why you chose this particular show, a new musical called 13…

Nicholas Martin Repeats the Theatre's Biggest Lie

Thanks to Art at Mirror Up to Nature for linking to the Nicholas Martin interview. Nice choice of quotations to feature, Art. I'll let Mike Lawler discuss the staff cuts, but I will say this: is this some sort of new trend? Did the artistic directors go to some TCG workshop where a consultant described how they could improve their balance sheet by eliminating staff?

I'd like the address this particular quotation:
MARTIN.The really, really good young people - you can have them when they're just in college and just after. They're quite right, they go to New York. I don't blame them, they have to make a living. A really hot theater town - which Boston wants to be so badly and may be someday but really isn't yet, if I may say so - in a really hot theater town, a good actor can earn his living doing theater. And when [celebrated local actor] Nancy Carroll has to work a day job, that's just wrong.In the novel The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho describes "the w…

Vote Obama

On Friday, I attended a rally for Barack Obama that took place on my campus. The speaker was Michelle Obama.

Before the rally, I was a pretty strong Obama supporter; when I left, I was convinced of how very, very important an Obama presidency is to our country.

After eight years of neo-fascist Republican rule, any Democrat in the White House will be a vast improvement.

But we have an opportunity to emerge from our American ordeal to grasp something extraordinary. I will be voting for Barack Obama because I believe he will bring out America's "higher angels," to use Abraham Lincoln's powerful phrase. He will provide a model for how all Americans, not just politicians, should interact with each other: with fairness, with caring, and with a spirit of collaboration, with a commitment to community.

There are many who will argue that politics doesn't work that way; that politics is about partisanship, about power, and about money. A vote for John McCain or Hilary Clinton i…